Fair and Just Society

Holding Complexity in Sustainability

Holding Complexity in Sustainability  

Living daily on this planet, particularly in Western countries, we are all faced with the reality of our disproportionate contribution to the climate crisis. We know that we have a responsibility to do something – but what? With so many conflicting and changing sustainability narratives, it can be difficult to know the right thing to do when faced with complex and complicated advice. How can you know that the information you’re receiving is accurate, timely, and the best option for you and  the wider world around us?  

We are in a time of climate anxiety, with so many apparent ‘quick fixes’ that make us feel good but turn out to do more harm than good. The fear of accidentally causing more harm can lead us to become frozen by indecision, stuck with old sustainability policies and practices and no real shift in our mindsets. It’s scary to look carefully at our climate impact, particularly when we know that everything we do necessarily impacts our environment and other people. Will we be judged by others for not knowing the newest advice? What if we can’t make the changes suggested to us because of issues like finances, staffing shortages, or accessibility? 

As an organisation working to help people change their behaviours around climate and nature, we’ve thought carefully about the nuance and complexity of sustainability conversations. We know that shame is not a good motivator and that the weight of eco-anxiety can take a heavy toll. In order to make collective change, we must be each other’s allies and cheerleaders. Our model of training, membership, and advice services all seek to meet every organisation where they’re at, without judgement, and work together to get you to the next step of your journey. We also don’t shy away from recognising the emotional impact that dealing with these issues can bring. We aim to create space for understanding and managing that emotional impact. 

Our staff have reflected on how they manage the complexity of sustainability conversations, as experts who have spent years working to help change mindsets and behaviours across small and large organisations. If we can carry the complexity of knowing our lives necessarily contribute to climate change, while still reducing our impact and protecting our land, we can find the hope that leads to action.  

Making Climate Science Accessible

Our climate is one of the few things that impacts all of us all of the time. Yet climate science is often siloed and separated from the general public, who receive advice and instructions without always knowing why and the costs and benefits of both action and inaction. As sustainability experts, we must be open to these questions and concerns from the general public and translate what we know into language that resonates with them.  

Phoebe Nicklin, our Policy and Engagement Officer, uses her background in community engagement to connect dense policy research with the people whose lives will be affected by it.

“It always comes back to the people for me. Who am I trying to make the world a better place for? I think about the people in my community, my friends and family, and future generations, and I’d like to make the world a better place for them. For me, when I get bogged down in details or disheartened at things not moving fast enough, I bring things back to that personal level. We like to say that by grounding it in the earth and bringing things back to basics the complexities become less scary.”

Connecting to people and their stories is crucial to maintaining hope for our future, and remembering that sustainability is interconnected with all our other social concerns. We believe that most people and organisations want to care about sustainability and the world around us. We are all living in the world, so why wouldn’t we? It is unfair to suggest that people don’t care about sustainability issues, when maybe they just don’t yet understand them. We’ve all experienced that feeling of embarrassment when we don’t know something we think we should. We aim to not make anyone feel that way, and we do that by creating ways for groups to engage in and understand climate science in the format that suits them. 

Our Sustainability Adviser, Camille Lovgreen, co-wrote a series of stories envisioning a Wales in 2051 where interconnecting societal problems had been considered in future planning.  

“Most people don’t know the language of sustainability, and I don’t blame them – it’s really jargony. I want instead to connect them to the day-to-day of what does this look like in practice, making it more tangible so it isn’t this theoretically abstract thing. Our Wales in 2051 stories were an example of connecting people to those tangible things, bringing in practices towards a better quality of life with more inclusion, more collaboration, and seeing how that can look in real life.”  

When we envision a better future for our communities, we may imagine access to nutritious food, great healthcare, and a thriving natural world. How do we get there from where we are now? The practical work to get us there can take different forms, and we must think about the ways people in all positions of society can come together to create change. If we think of sustainability as simply farming or cleaning rivers (although these are certainly crucial parts!), we neglect many of the human elements of this work that are blocking us from making progress.  

What is blocking us from making change? 

In a country suffering a cost-of-living crisis and still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not surprising that people are still focused on rebuilding and trying to regain lost ground, with less time to focus on sustainability. If people are struggling to meet their basic needs, how can they find the time and energy to take care of our world? In our roles as agents of change towards a better climate, we must recognise those who have been excluded from and forgotten in climate conversations. How can we claim to be looking after our planet without looking after those who are most marginalised within it?   

As businesses, on top of thinking about our carbon emissions and waste, our sustainability work requires reflection on the treatment of the people who work for us. As the Living Wage and Living Hours Wales accreditor, we have a team dedicated to improving fair work practices in Wales. Our Living Wage Programme Officer, Grace Robinson, meets with organisations at all different stages of their journey to support them in becoming a Living Wage or Living Hours employer.   

“I’ve always been someone who wants to do a job that helps people. When an organisation becomes Living Wage accredited, they obviously have to pay the real Living Wage as a minimum. So in order to accredit, lots of organisations will give their staff a pay rise to meet that minimum. I think that’s the biggest part where I see that we’re making an impact, changing people’s lives for the better.” 

Have you ever rushed into sustainability action, only to find that people don’t seem to want to engage with it? Especially within organisations, leaders can sometimes be out of touch with their staff, not knowing how to engage them with new sustainability practices. Instead of simply introducing new mandatory policies, we can dig a little deeper into understanding what our staff need. When our staff are paid well, feel respected, and trust us to support and nurture them, they are more likely to engage with new policies and practices.  

How do we effectively change hearts, minds, and actions? 

While most of us are aware of the climate crisis, we are all on different steps on our journey to understanding our sustainability responsibilities. Every individual and organisation has a different idea of the best steps for them. With different values, priorities and concerns, one path of action may be perfect for one organisation and impossible for another.  

If we meet these conversations with rigidity, assuming that we know what is best for an organisation or individual, we are bound to experience resistance and may even end up pushing them further away. 

Our new Sustainability Trainer, Chris Woodfield, is used to encouraging conversations with people on all steps of their journey, having started his career working within community activism.  

 “For me, it’s about framing what we’re doing. One tool I often use is called The Business Transformation Compass from Forum for the Future. It looks at what mindset we’re coming from, and looking to shift our thinking from a risk mitigation and zero harm mindset towards a do good and just and regenerative mindset focused on building capacity for justice and regeneration. This helps us look at the system as a whole to move beyond sustaining and maintaining to enabling life to flourish and thrive.”   

Conversations around changing attitudes and habits can be tricky and need to be handled with care. If we want to turn sustainability aims into actions, we need to recognise that a sense of control and agency to act for the things that we care about are far more powerful motivators than fear or shame.   

In our sustainability advice services and training courses, we think about the values and needs of each organisation and develop sustainability goals to match them. That’s where our membership programme becomes so useful. Learning from similar organisations across different sectors has helped our members discover appropriate sustainability goals for them, feel less alone on their sustainability journey, and practice peer accountability. 

Can the sustainability journey be made easier? 

In the past few years, our lives have all changed hugely, meaning our habits have changed, too. It can be difficult to focus our attention in a specific direction, which can result in our sustainability aims getting left behind. Even with the pressure on organisations to meet sustainability goals and a widespread awareness of climate issues, time-poor organisations may struggle to find the time to dedicate to meaningful sustainability work.  

Noticing this, we’ve adapted things like our membership offer to fit with the needs of our members, particularly when it comes to their time. Our large quarterly member events always bring in a great crowd, alongside our digital events that are held each month, but developing this programme has required a lot of listening and adaptation from our Membership Officer, Abi Hoare: 

“Members ask us for networking opportunities, and they are always so engaged at our in-person events. But there are always practical issues, from people’s availability to wider issues of transport infrastructure and budgets. With the shift to remote working, people are more spread out and structuring their lives around being online, so in-person events can be tricky. We balance our in-person sessions with online sessions, having taken accessibility concerns into consideration, but we’re always listening to ways we can expand and evolve our programme.” 

If your events are under-attended, it’s worth thinking beyond the idea that people don’t ‘want’ to engage, and questioning how these events might be inaccessible. This could be down to practical issues, such as the space used and the time chosen, as well as interconnected issues such as clear event marketing, pricing, and the return on investment for your attendees.  

Many organisations are struggling financially, particularly in the third sector. One question that comes up sometimes is why should we budget for sustainability? When budgets must be cut, it makes sense to ensure that this sustainability work is, in itself, sustainable for us. This is why we think carefully about our pricing structure, offering different tiers and kinds of support to meet each organisation’s needs and budget.  

Fiona Humphreys, our Finance Officer, has seen the organisation grow and evolve over three years. She has reflected a lot on the value sustainability training provides. 

“As climate science changes so rapidly, we need to ensure that we continue to develop alongside it. The paid services we offer factor in our team’s research into evolving climate science, and purchasing our training helps an organisation to remember the value and importance of climate consciousness. We put a value on our work because we believe it has worth – and doing so allows us to offer pro bono work where it’s most needed, while also ensuring that we can continue to provide a service that is both up to date and effective in helping our clients become more sustainable.” 

When we have conversations around the need for sustainability action, it’s important to remember the nuanced factors that affect people’s behaviour. Through our training, advice, fair work, and membership services, we work with organisations of all sizes to take the next step towards more sustainable ways of working. When we’re honest with ourselves about our progress and our pitfalls, we can begin the journey of deepening our positive impact on the planet. Even as experts, we all have a way to go, and we hope you’ll join us in navigating this complex journey.  


Ready to start your sustainability journey? Get in touch to hear about our membership, training programmes, and sustainability advice.

Holding Complexity in Sustainability Read More »

A Wales that cares: People, planet, and green skills – A focus on sustainability and equality

At Cynnal Cymru, we recognise that we are not the only organisation in Wales working to make sustainability challenges, and their solutions, visible and relatable.

Engaging with others is a key part of what we do and what we learn we try to share – through our advice and action planning, training – and posts like these.

We recently participated in an event organised by the Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA) and Oxfam Cymru which highlighted the importance of acknowledging and valuing unpaid (or poorly paid) labour, a form of work that is predominantly undertaken by women across the globe and is often unrecognised.

This intersection of work and justice is close to our hearts. Cynnal Cymru is the Living Wage accreditation partner for Wales and we see Fair Work as a critical cornerstone of any equitable society and economy.

If this issue also touches you, please read on for more insights from the event from our Sustainability Strategist Karolina and further resources around the care economy, alternative economic models, inequality and climate.

A Wales that cares: People, planet, and green skills – A focus on sustainability and equality – IWA and Oxfam Cymru April 2024

I was curious and excited to attend this event and to explore how a Wales that prioritises people and the planet could be constructed. A key takeaway was that this cannot be done without first recognising and fairly rewarding unpaid (or poorly paid) labour, a form of work that is predominantly undertaken by women and is often unrecognised.

The event featured a series of debates and conversations, ignited by thought-provoking presentations by:

  • Anam Parvez , Head of Research, Oxfam GB, on care, climate justice and inequality – a perspective from the UK
  • Leah Payud, Portfolio Manager, Oxfam Philippines, on care, climate justice and gendered dimensions – a perspective from the global South.
  • Erinch Sahan, Business and Enterprise Lead, DEAL, on doughnut economics and alternative economic models
  • Helen Lucocq, Head of Strategy and Policy, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, on doughnut economics and alternative economic models in Wales.

The takeaways that we’d like to share, including resources from the event or found subsequently, are:

Necessity of a Paradigm Shift:

It’s crucial that we progress beyond using GDP as the only indicator of success. This measure has shown to be patriarchal and has been globally implemented with devastating consequences. To truly understand its impact on our climate, it’s worth listening to Mia Motely’s discussion on the imperative need for systemic change and a compelling story from Gabon.

Significance of the Care Economy:

It’s undeniable that women bear a disproportionate burden of caregiving duties. For a just transition to occur, it’s essential to recognise and appreciate these contributions. During periods of transition, it’s crucial to consider all forms of paid and unpaid labour, as the most overlooked types are often the most affected and necessary. To gain a deeper understanding, visit Oxfam’s website dedicated to care in the UK and listen to these two insightful podcasts here and here, plus an episode about the staggering amount of money women in the care sector send back home.

Making change in Wales:

If you are in a position where you can help reset this balance in Wales you can watch how one social care provider became a Living Wage employer here.

Interconnection of Climate and Inequality:

Climate change tends to exacerbate existing social inequalities, with minority groups often bearing the brunt. Those burdened with caring responsibilities are often left to protect and rebuild with little or no external support. Thus, climate action and disaster preparedness plans should be inclusive, considering those with caring responsibilities and people with disabilities. In this regard, developing nations have made significant strides, providing valuable lessons for developed nations. For further information, you can read stories of preparedness with gender in mind, about the impact of climate on women in rural areas, listen to the episode about preparedness in Bangladesh, heartbreaking stories about the impact on women due to climate; and about the lack of consideration for people with disabilities in action plans.

The Doughnut Model – A New Business Paradigm:

The Doughnut Model is an innovative framework for redesigning businesses to address both environmental and social needs. System thinking skills are indispensable for facilitating this transition. To learn more, visit the Doughnut Lab.

Green Jobs & Just Transition Across All Sectors, Including Care:

The definition of green skills needs to be broadened to prevent exacerbating existing social inequalities.

Real Stories of Possibility:

There are countless solutions out there; they encompass technology, politics, socio-cultural changes, and are entirely achievable. Let’s make sure to share these inspiring stories! For a wealth of uplifting and inspiring stories, I recommend People Fixing the World.

The event spurred numerous questions:

  • What could these alternative metrics to GDP look like, and how can they be effectively implemented?
  • How can we ensure a just transition that benefits everyone, not just those with privilege?

We look forward to seeing these insightful discussions developed into a comprehensive position paper, which IWA should soon publish.

A Wales that cares: People, planet, and green skills – A focus on sustainability and equality Read More »

What can a just and fair net zero transition look like? 

What can a just and fair net zero transition look like?

What can a just and fair net zero transition look like? It’s a topic that has been on my mind a lot since joining Cynnal Cymru in February as the Senior Programme and Policy Lead, leading our Fair Work and Living Wage team. Unsurprisingly for a charity called ‘Sustain Wales’, we’ve always been a sustainability charity first and foremost. But for a few years now, we’ve worked on developing our aims on ‘just transition’, and that has included embedding the fair work agenda outlined in the Fair Work Wales report in 2019 into our aims. That has meant working with trade unions, writing policy papers on spreading fair work principles throughout existing government programmes, and sitting on the Welsh Government’s group aimed at tackling modern slavery.  

We’re also the Living Wage Foundation’s accreditation partner for Wales, meaning we essentially host Living Wage Wales in house. Living Wage Wales has delivered over 22,000 pay rises for low-paid workers across Wales through this work, including 5,575 in 2023 alone – making a direct contribution to tackling the cost of living crisis. This fits with another key Cynnal Cymru principle – focus on action, not just words. 

This is what myself and my colleagues on the Fair Work and Living Wage team work on – but what does it have to do with sustainability? I’d say it has a huge contribution to make. We should be honest about the fact that there are vested interests who are opposed to carbon reduction and nature-positive actions, particularly at the scale we know these need to happen at. It barely needs saying, but profit motives very often run against sustainability aims. A tree can be a project stewarded by communities over hundreds of years that provides space for nature and clean air for people, or it can be a blocker to a new car park. At time of writing, it was only yesterday that we heard the UAE government plans to use COP28 to make oil deals.  

There are often efforts to protect private profit motives via leveraging the jobs business creates, to bind the inexorable destruction of the natural world to the interests of working people. In this framing, environmentalists and their causes are painted as cloistered from the demands of the real world that most people have to deal with. There’s no hiding from the fact that this can be an emotive and powerful dividing line, carving the people whose world is being worsened away from efforts to protect it. We saw in the recent Uxbridge by-election how action on emissions, in this case Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ), can be utilised for political gain. 

Focus on action – not just words.

For me, then, a just and fair transition isn’t just a slogan. It is a vital tool in our efforts towards carbon reduction and nature restoration. If our sustainability efforts are questioned, we can very happily point to the work we do to ensure that people have access to fair working conditions and boosting the pay of those in the lowest-paid jobs so that they can afford to live and not just exist. Work on a fair and just transition can bind working people to the cause of sustainability – not an inconvenience for people, but an opportunity. At a legislative level in Wales, the recent Social Partnership and Public Procurement Act has amended the Well-being of Future Generations Act to include ‘fair work’, and our well-being indicators include payment of the real Living Wage and trade union membership. This binds the cause of working people even closer to the task of saving our planet. 

If we get it right, the green transition gives us the opportunity to repair many of the broken elements of our economy. It can mean high-quality, unionised, green jobs spread across communities that have seen unfair working practices and low pay proliferate. Green skills training programmes that prepare our workforce for the future can contribute to bringing an end to the gender and racial inequities we see today. And of course, it can mean the avoidance of the road to disaster our climate and natural world are currently on.

So, as we look at Wales Climate Week and COP28, let’s keep the things that are important to people – their livelihoods, incomes, and their everyday lives – at the forefront of our minds. That’s what a just and fair transition is all about. 


Harry Thompson is Cynnal Cymru’s Senior Programmes and Policy Lead. He manages the Fair Work and Living Wage team, which work towards Cynnal Cymru’s strategic goal of a fair and just society. He comes from an economic policy background, having led projects on topics such as empowering trade unions, the Welsh Government’s fiscal framework, and community empowerment.

He is also our Equality and Diversity lead.

What can a just and fair net zero transition look like?  Read More »

Cynnal Cymru Strengthens Board with New Trustee Appointees 

The charity turns these sustainability values into practical action by providing advice and training to assist businesses on their sustainability journey. Cynnal Cymru also works to spread fair working practices across Wales, including by managing Living Wage Wales and delivering pay rises for the lowest paid in Wales’ economy. These actions make Cynnal Cymru a catalyst for a just transition to a greener and fairer society. 

The journey towards sustainability however is a challenge that needs to involve everyone. With this key objective in mind the Charity’s Board set out to seek broader representation of skills and lived experience amongst its trustees – from a wide range of applicants that exceeded expectations. From a diverse range of candidates, each bringing different insights, skills and perspectives, three new trustees have joined the Board to steer the Charity’s future work. 


Dan Tram grew up in Cardiff and has worked for Arup, a global sustainable development consultancy, for six years. As a senior engineer in Arup’s water team, he advocates and delivers sustainable solutions to the many challenges we face, with a particular focus on using nature and sustainable water management to reshape our towns and cities. Dan was listed as a Future 100 Changemaker by the Future Generations Commissioner. 


Sam Stensland works for Business in the Community, which aims to bring about a fairer and greener world driven by fairer and greener businesses. He is a Trustee of Tylorstown Welfare Hall and is a Grants Panellist with WCVA, bringing strong experience of place-based grant-making, cross-sector collaboration, and strategic marketing. He has a strong sustainability background, holding an MSc in Political Ecology.


Nirushan Sudarsan is deeply embedded in the agenda to bring fair working practices to all people and communities. He runs two social enterprises, Ffair Jobs CIC and Grange Pavilion Youth Forum CIC. His work with Ffair Jobs has been instrumental in establishing the Community Jobs Compact, which has been signed by major employers such as IKEA, ITV Wales, Careers Wales, and the Welsh Parliament.  


Diane McCrea, Chair of Cynnal Cymru’s Board, said: “All charities rely on small groups of committed volunteers to step up and take on the role as trustees. They safeguard the organisation’s mission, oversee key financial and governance tasks, and provide critical thinking, challenge and support to help staff deliver their best work. Dan, Sam and Nirushan bring with them skills and insights from a broad range of professional and a wide range of lived experience, strengthening our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. I am delighted to welcome them to the Board Trustee team to help further Cynnal Cymru’s mission.” 

Cynnal Cymru Strengthens Board with New Trustee Appointees  Read More »

Our pledge to Zero Racism Wales

Cynnal Cymru Statement of Intent

Cynnal Cymru welcomes the breadth and diversity of tradition, belief and culture of the community. It seeks to create, maintain and promote a community in which each person is treated fairly and equally irrespective of race. Cynnal Cymru confirms its commitment to a policy of equal opportunities in employment and service delivery. Individuals will be selected and treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities and will be given fair and equal opportunities within Cynnal Cymru. Equally, we confirm our commitment to treating all staff, clients, customers and service users in accordance with this policy. Cynnal Cymru commits to adhere to the Equality Act 2010 and provide fair and equitable services to people from all race and other protected characteristic backgrounds. The aim of the policy is to ensure that no job applicant or user/ visitor/ guest receives less favourable treatment on any grounds which are not relevant to good employment practice. We are committed to a programme of action to make this policy fully effective.

Read our full Zero Racism Wales pledge >>

Find out how you can support a zero-tolerance approach to racism in Wales >>

Our pledge to Zero Racism Wales Read More »

Integrated Sustainability Training

Integrated Sustainability Training

Learn how to create a sustainable development strategy for your business.

New legislation coupled with a significant and growing market demand for brands, products and services that demonstrate positive environmental and social impacts along their supply chain means that sustainability is now essential for every business.

This new training programme is proven to equip participants with the critical skills and practical know-how to build meaningful action plans and implement purposeful strategies that respond to both the climate and nature crisis, whilst satisfying customer needs and building commercial success.

Delivered as a series of tutor led modules, underpinned by best practice examples and supported by one to one guidance, our expert trainers will guide each participant to develop, test and refine their own sustainability plans and gain confidence to immediately take action where it matters.

Course essentials

Peer-to-peer learning

Up to 12 people

Committment

15 hours across 8 weeks

Learning options

Online or in-person

Certification

Subject to successful completion of the course

Who is this course for?

Designed by Cynnal Cymru and Ecostudio and informed by evidence-based practice, this training is for owners, senior and aspiring managers from ambitious businesses that want to:

Your course tutors

Iain Cox

Ecostudio

Iain is an award-winning sustainability consultant and business mentor. His experience is in designing training programmes, advising policy makers and delivering projects that build thecapacity and capability of project teams to do sustainability for themselves.

Since establishing Ecostudio in 2008, he has helped many organisations to build commercially sound strategies, create responsible brands and innovative products, packaging and services, that deliver measurable environmental performance and social value for their customers, clients and stakeholders.

About Cynnal Cymru

Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales is the leading organisation for Sustainable Development in Wales.

About Eco Studio

Ecostudio is an award-winning sustainability and circular economy consultancy.

Get in touch

training@cynnalcymru.com

029 2043 1746

We typically work Monday -Thursday, 9-5pm

FAQs

Frequently asked questions

Sign up for our newsletter

Our monthly newsletter includes a round up of the latest sustainability news as well as updates on our latest training opportunities.

Integrated Sustainability Training Read More »

Greenstream Flooring launch ‘The Better Greener Project’ for RCT residents

Greenstream Flooring has secured funding through the WCVA Active Inclusion fund and the Welsh Government European Social Fund to support residents of Rhondda Cynon Taf RCT who are over 25 and unemployed or economically inactive to learn about the green economy.

The active inclusion fund provides grants for projects in Wales that help disadvantage people get back into employment. The fund is an important way for voluntary organisations to tackle unemployment in the wake of Covid-19.

The training will take place at the Greenstream Flooring offices and warehouses over a three-week period where participants will learn about the green economy whilst gaining skills and experience in the sector.

For further information, visit the Greenstream website.

Greenstream Flooring launch ‘The Better Greener Project’ for RCT residents Read More »

‘Collectively we demand change’ – Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly published recommendations

The Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly has spent the last four weeks designing and deliberating on proposals to tackle climate change in Blaenau Gwent.

The final proposals were presented and voted on during the Assemblies final session on Sunday (28 March).

Five key recommendations were passed with over 80% of the assembly members support across areas such as transport, housing and green spaces including:

  • The establishment of an affordable, integrated road and rail transport system in Blaenau Gwent with a one-ticket system for bus, rail and cycle schemes
  • Establishing safe and easily maintainable infrastructure for walkers and cyclists
  • New training for local tradespeople, qualifications and upskilling to increase green construction skills across the borough
  • Implementing a programme of woodland preservation and reforestation increasing opportunities for jobs, biodiversity and connecting woodlands.
  • Ensure new housing is developed with the latest sustainable techniques

The final report of the Assembly will be published the week of 18 April 2021. A full list of recommendations can be found here.

Michelle Morris, Managing Director, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council said:

“I would like thank everyone who took the time to take part in Wales’ first climate assembly. The Council and Public Service Board welcome the views of local people and their ideas for dealing with the climate crisis.

“Climate change is a global issue and it’s absolutely vital that we act now to protect our environment for the well-being of future generations and the recommendations from the Assembly are vital for us as the Welsh public sector when we develop our long term plans to shape our approach to tackling the challenges ahead.

“We’re already taking a number of actions as part of our Decarbonisation plan to reduce our carbon impact. The 5 recommendations from the Climate Assembly will help us to prioritise our work in a number of key areas and these will make a significant contribution towards our carbon neutral aim.”

Jess Blair, Director, ERS Cymru said:

“The Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly shows what happens when you do politics differently – brining a community together and providing them with the space to deliberate on important issues in their local area. . This was Wales’ first climate assembly but we hope it will not be the last.”

“Citizen participation is vital in local decision making, it brings legitimacy, builds trust and shows that, when given the support, ordinary people can help shape their communities and come up with valuable solutions to important issues.

“Now the assembly is has spoken we look forward to seeing how Blaenau Gwent responds to their recommendations.”

Matt, Participant, Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly said:

“I found the climate assembly a really rewarding experience. I was able to connect with many different types of people from all walks of life within Blaenau Gwent to talk about a common goal.

“Some of the evidence that we talked about certainly shocked me, but it was comforting to know that the solutions are really within our own hands and I’m really looking forward to having our recommendations evaluated, and hopeful some will be taken forward to make a real difference within Blaenau Gwent so that we can really start to see some positive change.”

Sunita, Participant, Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly said:

“Before taking part in the climate assembly, I was aware of the causes and the effects of climate change and have always been passionate about doing everything that I can to make a difference on an individual level.
“I have learnt so much from my experience as an Assembly Member; from recognising that there is a lack of awareness about climate change on a local and national level, to understanding the level of interest and passion from the people of Blaenau Gwent to make things better.

“Collectively we demand change from our council and our government. We urge the council and the governing bodies to listen to our recommendations that we as an assembly decided on and act upon them.

“We will not stop here. We will continue to learn. We will persist to make sure that our voices are heard. We will strive to make a positive difference in our own lives and in the communities around us.”


The assembly, was the first deliberative democratic event of its kind in Wales, brought 50 Blaenau Gwent residents together with expert speakers to develop proposals to address the climate crisis in their area.

The participants have been selected to be demographically representative of the wider Blaenau Gwent community representing the views and backgrounds of the borough’s residents.

Participants spent four weeks hearing from over 20 expert speakers on a range of issues including housing, fuel poverty, transport, nature and green space, jobs and skills before considering the evidence, make and vote on recommendations.

These will be sent to the Blaenau Gwent Public Service Board’s Climate Mitigation Steering Group, who have made a commitment to respond to the recommendations.

‘Collectively we demand change’ – Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly published recommendations Read More »

Doing the little things in Cardiff on St. David’s Day

This St David’s Day, we are asking organisations across Cardiff to think about the little things they can do to ensure a fair day’s pay for their workers, whether it’s understanding how to become an accredited Living Wage employer, or reaching out to other organisations to encourage them to consider the real Living Wage, or helping us share the positive messages about the difference that paying the real Living Wage can make.

Cardiff Council is currently the only accredited real Living Wage local authority in Wales. The Council and partners are championing Cardiff as a Living Wage city which is having positive impact on the city and its employees. As of 1 February 2021, 45% of Wales’ total accredited employers were based in Cardiff and Cardiff employers had contributed to 69% of total uplifts in pay. Recent research by Cardiff University has shown that real Living Wage accreditation by 124 Cardiff employers has resulted in 7,735 workers receiving a pay rise which has added over £32m to the local economy in just over 8 years.

To hear more about the benefits of the real Living Wage from employers and employees in Cardiff please watch this video.

Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said:

“The seemingly small things really can make a big difference, and I know the significant impact paying the real Living Wage has had in the lives of our own staff. We’re pleased to be supporting organisations across the city to enable them to do the same for their own employees, and this St David’s Day I would encourage any Cardiff business interested in paying the real Living Wage to get in touch to find out more.”

Cardiff Council understand the wider benefits that the real Living Wage can bring to individuals and employers, as well as to the City; and they have made a commitment to reimbursing accreditation fees for SME employers based in Cardiff through their accreditation support scheme. For more information about the real Living Wage in Cardiff please visit the website.

Cardiff Council also encourages local employers to provide a Payroll Savings and Loans Scheme to their staff, enabling their employees to save directly from their salaries and if needed, access affordable credit from an ethical provider. More information can be found on this on the Cardiff & Vale Credit Union’s website.

Cynnal Cymru is the accrediting body for the real Living Wage in Wales and are here to help you through the accreditation process. Get in touch, join the movement, do the little things.

We wish you all a happy St David’s Day. Diolch yn fawr!

Doing the little things in Cardiff on St. David’s Day Read More »

A Guide to the Well-being of Future Generations Act

It will make the public bodies listed in the Act think more about the long-term, work better with people and communities and each other, look to prevent problems and take a more joined-up approach.

Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales is the leading organisation for sustainable development in Wales. Our mission is to make Wales the first Sustainable Nation. Cynnal Cymru’s overall focus is on developing and promoting a sustainable, resource-efficient and low-carbon society through engagement with enterprises, the third sector and communities. We connect local and national organisations together from across Wales to help each other develop more sustainable solutions and deliver on the Well-being of Future Generations Act. This will help us to create a Wales that we all want to live in, now and in the future.

To make sure we are all working towards the same vision, the Act puts in place seven well-being goals.

Sustainable Development Principle and Ways of Working

The Act puts in place a ‘sustainable development principle’ which tells organisations how to go about meeting their duty under the Act.

There are five things that public bodies need to think about to show that they have applied the sustainable development principle. Following these ways of working will help us work together better, avoid repeating past mistakes and tackle some of the long-term challenges we are facing.


Why do we need this law?

Wales faces a number of challenges now and in the future, such as climate change, poverty, health inequalities and jobs and growth. To tackle these we need to work together. To give our children and grandchildren a good quality of life we need to think about how the decisions we make now will impact them. This law will make sure that our public sector does this.

More information

For a summary of the Act see a copy of the booklet ‘The Essentials’.

You can find out more about the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act on the the Welsh Government website.

A Guide to the Well-being of Future Generations Act Read More »

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